William Jay Benes

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

William Jay Benes, 89, died on June 7, 2018 at St. Peter’s Hospital in Helena, Montana. Jay was born to William Joseph and Ellen (Anderson) Benes on Nov. 6, 1928 in St. Joseph’s Hospital, Lewistown. Jay was the third of four children. He grew up during the great depression and learned the value of making do or doing without.

Jay was educated in several rural schools around Hilger, Montana, before graduating in 1946 from Fergus County High School in Lewistown. While going to high school, he worked as a box boy for the Safeway store. After graduation, Jay successfully ranched and farmed with his dad and brother Robert “Bob” Benes for many years in the Christina, Montana area. Jay was a man of the land. He loved his Hereford cattle, horses, and growing crops. He was a volunteer with Hilger Fire Department and a member of Lewistown Eagles Club.

On Oct. 5, 1991, Jay and Margaret A. Barber were married in Lewistown. After they sold the ranch and moved to their home on Upper Spring Creek, Jay started working for Jayson Shobe Auction. He enjoyed helping at the auction sales and meeting new people. Jay’s ability to grow plants resulted in yards full of flowers and gardens with cabbages, green beans and tomatoes he would share with friends and family. Jay was always ready to eat a piece of pie baked by Margaret. Jay cherished spending time with his grandchildren. He was a member of the Zion Lutheran Church in Lewistown.

Jay is preceded in death by his parents; sister Wilma Bustell; and brother-in-law Carl Bustell. He is survived by his wife, Margaret Benes of Lewistown; stepdaughters: Rose McLees of Lewistown, Connie Harvey of Lewistown, and Barb Gilskey (Darrell Strausburg) of Hilger; grandchildren: Brian McLees of Havre, Cody (Amanda) McLees of Molt, Shannon Gilskey (Anthony Thompson) of Helena, and Trevor Gilskey (Nicole Madden) of Billings; and great-grandchildren: Nicolai and Riley McLees of Molt; siblings, Robert “Bob” Benes of Lewistown and Donna (John) Michel of Billings; nephews: Jerry (Bridget) Michel and family of Helena, Roger (Karol) Michel and family of Billings, and Donald Bustell (Nancy Rambo) of Des Moines, Iowa; niece, Jean Wilson (George) and family of Des Moines, Iowa; and other extended family members.

Viewing will be Thursday, June 14, 2018, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Creel Funeral Home Chapel. The Funeral Service will be at 11 am on Friday, June 15, 2018 at Zion Lutheran Church, 604 W. Evelyn, Lewistown.Interment will be at the Lewistown City Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please send memorials to the Hilger Fire Department, Hilger Community Corp, or the charity of your choice.

Arrangements are under the care of Creel Funeral Home. Jay’s family and friends can share memories and condolences at www.creelfuneralhome.com.

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